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 Post subject: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:55 pm 
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I am refurbishing an old office desktop, which means I am using some older hardware and ran into some very hot temps with a decent aftermarket HSF. After some research, I found that the AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+ runs pretty hot and I looked into undervolting.

You can read more about my troubleshooting efforts here, if you like.

Specs:
AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
Emachines MCP61PM-GM AM2 Motherboard
4GB DDR2-800
500W EVGA PSU
Asus R7-240

I tried using a program called FirstMark but it crashed my system and I had to reinstall Windows. Further research showed a few flaws with that program, specifically with Brisbane CPUs. That led me here and I'm trying to use a program called CrystalCPUID, which is apparently more stable. My tests with FirstMark showed signs of stability at 1.3V and temps were steady and just below my max CPU temps (62C, w/ 1.3V I was averaging 58C.)

I'm trying to follow the article here on your site, but I'm not sure what I'm doing. Could anyone walk me through how to configure the settings to step down my voltage and test for stability?


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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:17 am 
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Hi schmo, welcome to SPCR.

You do realize you're referring to a 9-year old article? I edited it but have to admit I haven't touched that software for... 9 years? :lol:

I read through your post on reddit. Have you considered underclocking... or is that not possible on your MB?

I'm surprised your temps are soaring so quickly with an 18cm tower HSF. A good cooler that size should easily handle 100W TDP. What is the cooler? EDIT -- never mind, I saw the link to the HSF you're using. I recall reviewing it. That's a pretty lousy cooler. Also, I misread. You have "an 18cm midtower" -- do you mean an 18 inch? or do you mean 18cm wide? If the latter, then there's room for a decent 120mm fan cooler, and yeah, you might just need a better cooler, much as you hate to hear that!

You should also take some photos of your system to show us. It could just be a case of very bad case airflow, which will make any HSF struggle.

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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:07 am 
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MikeC wrote:
I read through your post on reddit. Have you considered underclocking... or is that not possible on your MB?


I have not. I've considered dropping the max multiplier down to 15x (it's currently at 15.5). I have only considered undervolting due to the excessive temperatures I've been getting. I can't set voltage settings in BIOS, so I doubt I'd be able to touch multipliers either. I originally got the idea from a commenter on the very bottom of this page.

My understanding is that voltage is, in a very general sense, what determines how hot the processor gets, not clock speed. For instance, when overclocking, you typically require more voltage, and thus, more cooling.

Quote:
I'm surprised your temps are soaring so quickly with an 18cm tower HSF. A good cooler that size should easily handle 100W TDP. What is the cooler?

You should also take some photos of your system to show us. It could just be a case of very bad case airflow, which will render any heatsink/fan way less efficient.


This is a refurbished office desktop, so the the case is not exactly great for airflow. It's a mid-tower, not full. You can take a closer look at it here. I have one 80mm fan pushing air out the only slot in the back (it's actually a 92mm with holes for both.) As you can see, there is a slight amount of venting along the bottom of the case and the side perpendicular to the CPU (most likely for a parallel HSF.). I just realized I hadn't run Prime95 with the second HSF and the side case off, but with a Rosewill RCX-Z1 it had very little effect (temps still reached well over max, just not as fast.... say 20 seconds more to reach them.)

The case sucks, but I don't think the issue. There are lots of anecdotes in forums going back 7 years about Athlon x2s running hot. I've ruled out HSF issues such as dust/seating/paste. Airflow could be an issue, but I don't see how given my experience above. I am new at all of this, so I could very well be wrong.

Right now I've got a ZALMAN CNPS5X. I'm hitting 70-72C after a minute or so of Prime95, which is ~10C above the max temps (62C). I was up to 80C at one point on the Rosewill, which is when I really started freaking out.

My goal here is a refurbished light gaming/browsing/school computer... on a budget. Right now I'm over that, due to some impatience on my part and a bit of haggling with the Mrs. ;)

I should note I was able to get my CPU undervolted to 1.3V using RMClock (another old piece of software) and it was stable for 30+ mins in Prime95 before I tried it out for everyday use. At that point it stayed I was able to use the PC for about an hour or so before it froze. Rebooted, reset the voltage settings, and it froze within minutes. Third time, same thing. Fourth time Win 8 got corrupted and I had to re-install.

My concerns really lie with the P-Steps and what all the settings in this program do. I kinda understand what was written in the article, but I have no idea where to start.

Lastly, thank you for the warm welcome. I have been racking my brain and all I want to do is get this desktop stable and cool without drilling into the case and installing a $150 water cooler. Any help at this point is greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:06 pm 
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Yes, you're right in that voltage affects power/heat much more than clock speed -- increasing V leads to exponential increase in power, while clock speed results in linear power increase.

Still I reiterate 2 points --
1) Neither of those HSF are good enough
2) airflow DOES matter

Try the Zalman HSF again with the case cover off. If it still overheats like before, this is a clear indication the HSF simply isn't good enough. You don't need to go to WC, but you do need a better HSF. SPCR does sell review HSF samples at discount here.

Regarding CrystalCPUID, that article is fairly clear, imo. Just go through it again carefully. Since you have it installed, you should be able to follow along. I doubt anyone can give you a detailed step-by-step; very few are using it at this point.

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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:50 pm 
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Thank you for the assistance. I'm taking a look at the HSFs right now. I figured with such an old processor I wouldn't need to have any sort of major HSF. I guess I was wrong.

I may be in touch with you regarding one of those HSFs. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:42 pm 
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schm0 wrote:
I figured with such an old processor I wouldn't need to have any sort of major HSF. I guess I was wrong.

I may be in touch with you regarding one of those HSFs. :)

It's old but its 125W TDP is way higher than typical mid-CPUs these days, which average ~65W & often lower.

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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:55 pm 
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Come to think of it, you might be better off swapping the CPU for a cooler one. For example, I have an Athlon 64x2 4400 (AM2) that runs at 2.2 or 2.3 GHz; TDP is just 65W. It might be cheaper than a big heatsink (esp when shipping is considered). Yeah, it'll be a bit slower, but... Sell off the 6000+ on Amazon or ebay, probably come out even in the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:03 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
schm0 wrote:
I figured with such an old processor I wouldn't need to have any sort of major HSF. I guess I was wrong.

I may be in touch with you regarding one of those HSFs. :)

It's old but its 125W TDP is way higher than typical mid-CPUs these days, which average ~65W & often lower.


My proc is the 89W 3.1 Ghz version. I'll be honest I've been sticking to coolers without a back plate (hesitant about removing the motherboard) and my case eliminates a lot of the bigger fans. It's hard to tell what cooler will perform best other than price... Any thoughts on what kind of HSF would do the trick?


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 Post subject: Re: Help undervolting an old AMD Athlon x2 64 6000+
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:44 pm 
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schm0 wrote:
My proc is the 89W 3.1 Ghz version. I'll be honest I've been sticking to coolers without a back plate (hesitant about removing the motherboard) and my case eliminates a lot of the bigger fans. It's hard to tell what cooler will perform best other than price... Any thoughts on what kind of HSF would do the trick?

For good cooling of a hot CPU, a backplate is virtually mandatory. Hard to get enough pressure on the CPU/HS interface otherwise.

Just about anything in the comparison chart in this HSF review will work for you -- http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1395-page6.html -- though these are mostly pretty big.

These are a bit smaller; tested on our 95W TDP CPU, not the 130W CPU above. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1354-page5.html -- anything in the top half of the charts will do fine.

The width of your case is 7.2"; this should mean you can squeeze most HSF up to ~6" in there. ie <150mm tall.

But this is assuming a modern case with good venting, which does not describe your case. I'd work on opening up a vent in the case front in some way, or perhaps cut a hole on the side panel a little ahead of the CPU. I mean a decent size hole, like a 3" circle. Or if you want the vent to be less obvious, cut a hole on the bottom panel, near the front, but make sure the feet are tall enough to allow good airflow, and don't put the PC on a plush carpet. You'd probably want to add a dust filter -- simple screen material will keep out all but the really fine stuff.

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Support SPCR by buying your gear through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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